Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Metatopia Schedule

In just a few days I'll be heading up to Morristown, NJ for Metatopia: The Game Design Festival. It's a Double Exposure convention focused entirely on the designers. The list of special guests is pretty amazing, and thanks to The Game Crafter, I'm one of those guests!

I'm going as a representative of The Game Crafter to speak on two panels. Both are production focused, with one being about bits and pieces, and the other about prototypes. Joining me in these panels will be the great industry minds Curt Covert (designer of Cutthroat Caverns), Geoff Bottone (designer of The Red Dragon Inn), Tim Rodriguez (designer of Ghost Pirates) and Chris Kreuter (designer of Epigo). 
D064: "Bits and Pieces: Building Your Board or Card Game" presented by Jason Tagmire, Curt Covert & Geoff Bottone. You've got a hot new board or card game, and it needs pieces to make it real. How do you decide what to use, and where do you buy them? We'll discuss the concern with obtaining the best mass produced components at the best price, or having them custom made. Saturday, 9:00AM - 10:00AM; One Session; All Ages.
D125: "Prototypes For Your Game" presented by Jason Tagmire, Tim Rodriguez, Chris Kreuter & Geoff Bottone. You need a prototype to show off your idea. Do you want to bang something together on your own or use a service to make things easier on yourself? These panelists have been there and can give you perspective on how to pick the best, most cost-effective path. Saturday, 4:00PM - 5:00PM; One Session; All Ages.
Aside from the panels, I'll be playing games by Jay Treat and Stronghold Games, and popping in on demos of other friends like Alex Strang, Kevin Kulp, Michael Keller (whose sold out before I could get in) and anyone else that I see there. And I'm super excited to attend Cindy Au from Kickstarter's panel as well as Cheapass Games owner/designer, James Ernest.

If you can make it out, it's going to be an awesome time for games. Full details here:

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pixel Lincoln @ BGG.Con with Rich Sommer and Game Salute!

As you may know, Rich Sommer is part of our awesome celebrity pack. I was super excited about having Rich on board with his background in TV, film, and most importantly, the board game community. His blog ( has a wonderful take on solo games in the Solo Games Odyssey, and G4TV's Game Night was the perfect board game/cable TV cross-over segment.

You may also know that Rich is the special guest at BGG.Con on November 14-18 in DFW, Texas. But… what you don't know is that we teamed up with Rich to make a Pixel Lincoln "Evil Rich Sommer" Mini-Boss card, that you can only get directly from him at BGG.Con. It's our first official promo release, and it turned out really cool.

Check it out:

Keep an eye on Board Game Geek for Rich's schedule at the convention.

As for Game Salute, they will have copies of Pixel Lincoln: The Deckbuilding Game on hand for demos at BGG.Con. They have a huge booth, so you can't miss them. Make sure you stop by, try the game, and throw in the Evil Rich Sommer card for extra fun.

Unfortunately I can't be there this time, but I have a ton of conventions on the schedule. Metatopia is next week, and Unpub 3, LunaCon and Pax East are all coming up. I always have an early copy of Pixel Lincoln on hand, so let me know if you would like to play.

See you around!

Game Night with Rich Sommer

Rich Sommer Comes Out Of The Closet

Friday, October 26, 2012

Elle Designs A Game

While I was working on a new SUPER SECRET prototype, my daughter decided to make up her own game. She does it all the time, usually opting to make up her own instead of playing others, but this time I had the camera on. After 10 minutes of game explanation (cut down to 3 for your convenience) I present this video.... ELLE DESIGNS A GAME.

It's called $ Money Change $ and you can play it yourself with business cards and stickers around the house. In this game, Elle exchanges TableTop stickers for Chevee Dodd business cards. There are also YoGo Factory coupons and elusive secret Crash Games cards. And there is a rule that you must say "please".

Also look for unofficial cameos by GeekCraft, Game Salute, Baked Fresh Daily Games, Carey Pietsch, Shaloman Comics, Atomic City Games, Rather Dashing / Grant Wilson, DiceAFARI, Shaloman Comics, Gut Bustin' Games, Indie Game Magazine, and Tomas the Lapidary.

Check out the creativity of a 4 year old, in a game design setting. It's pretty awesome.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Father Geek Review - ZombieZone

Father Geek has provided another one of their massively detailed reviews, and this time it's for ZombieZone!

They do such a great job with their reviews, covering the perspective of the Child Geeks, Parent Geeks and Gamer Geeks. Their tagline "better parenting through games and geekiness" is great, and we definitely promote it in our home as well. My kids are still very young, but all love to play games. Elle (4 years old) even likes to make her own. I have a video that needs to be edited down of her in action.

Anyway, speaking of action... we have a really awesome ZombieZone review! I'm glad to hear the Child Geeks and Parent Geeks approve of it, and I'm hoping to capture some of the Gamer Geeks over time. As we progress outside of the basic 2 player game, I think the additions will appeal to the Gamer Geeks, while still keeping the function and form of this standard 2 player version.

The Zombie Invasion caught everyone by surprise. Despite the movies, the t-shirt slogans, and books that detailed how the zombies would attack and how to defend yourself, the population of the world shifted from alive and bored to undead and stiff. Once the initial shock wore off and the human race organized itself to fight and contain the zombie outbreak, life more or less returned to normal. Oh, sure, there were some changes. For example, EVERYONE now carried a handgun, graveyards had watchtowers, and the most popular TV show in history pitted willing living participants against mindless undead in a battle royal. In fact, you just signed a contract to be part of the next season, alive or undead. Good luck!
Read the full review at:

"Fast and fun, this is a great introduction to the more complex zombie-themed games you will doubtlessly play in your future."
"Some of the Parent Geeks thought the game was perfect for easy plays and introduction to more complex strategy games where location of pieces was very important to achieving victory."
"One Gamer Geek said he was going to look into replacing his copy of Candy Land with ZombieZone. I imagine his little geeks will have nightmares in the future…"

I'm taking that Gamer Geek comment as a compliment (and I think it was intended that way?). I wouldn't mind it replacing Candy Land, even if just in one home.  

Thanks again to Cyrus and Father Geek!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Cardboard Jungle Interview

I was recently interviewed by Anthony of The Cardboard Jungle podcast about ZombieZone, Pixel Lincoln, and why I gravitate towards "quirky" design.

My interview starts around the 95 minute mark. The episode also features Tom Vasel of The Dice Tower, and tons of game recaps, including Dungeon Heroes by Crash Games.

Anthony and Paul are back with lucky Episode #7 where they talk about nyyscon (we really need to change that name), interview Tom Vasel and Jason Tagmire, and you will find out the origin of "Firefly". 

My history with The Cardboard Jungle goes back a little bit.

We had a Pixel Lincoln mention in Episode 2: Better Late Than Pregnant (around the 75 minute mark). The Pixel Lincoln Meeples were part of their Beatles-esque cover for Episode 6: Come Together. The guys graciously gave out ZombieZone postcards/PnPs at NYCC. And now, a full interview in Episode 7: Legend of the Firefly.

Big thanks to Anthony and Paul for having me on the show! 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Essen Qladiator Photos

Gioconomicon, a really nice Italian gaming site, posted some photos of Quarriors: Quest of the Qladiator from the WizKids booth at Essen.

We're just a few weeks from release here in the US!

Check out Gionomicon's full Essen photo gallery, which also includes photos of the super secret new AEG game, Guildhall.

And while you are clicking some links, use this one to translate Gionomicon into English (or whichever language you would like)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Geek of the Week

I'm usually a geek every week, but this week I am the Geek of the Week!

I was recently interviewed for Geekadelphia by fellow geek / high school alumni / writer with more credentials than you can imagine, Nicole Kline (@toits). We chatted about Quarriors (a game that she gushes a lot about), Pixel Lincoln, design advice and a bunch of other random projects that are going on.
Can you tell us a little bit about the first game you designed? 
It’s still incomplete, but it was very ambitious. It was a full on trading card game called “Magic Gone Mad” based off of a web series that I made with my brother and brother-in-law. I think we made a full 108 card set, but we only printed a short run of 10 promo cards. Around that time I discovered a print-on-demand / short run playing card company and started to self-publish my own games.
 Full article/interview at:

Fact: This is the second time I've been directly involved with a Geekadelphia article. The first was when they featured my old failed Kickstarter project (sniff... weep...) Famous Missions. The support helped, but in the end the project did not survive.

I talk about Famous Missions a little in this interview too. In fact, I was talking to people about it tonight again, and we played it for the first time in a while on Saturday. It's still a blast, so I need to get on that.

Oh well, check out the article. It's official now... I'm a geek!

Theology of Games Interview: Jason Tagmire AND Pixel Lincoln

In my most interesting interview yet, I was joined by Pixel Lincoln himself! It was his first interview in years, but I think he handled it like a champ. Have you ever been curious about how we met, or who his favorite vampire slayer is? Check out the excerpt below, and the full interview at Theology of Games.

Mr. President, tell us about your first meeting with Jason. 
He came into my office with a prototype of his game, Pixel Lincoln. Now, this was not the deckbuilding game that we all know about. This was a terrible little card game where you roll a die and move a penny around the cards. I told him to give it another shot and we would talk about it.

Thanks to Jeremiah at Theology of Games for the cool interview!

Quarriors at Essen

If you are lucky enough to be at Essen/Spiel this year, and you are strong enough to battle your way through 150,000 people... you can demo Quarriors: Quest of the Qladiator at the WizKids/Neca booth (5-34) well before its release next month.

WizKids is in Hall 5 (Halle 5 for locals), in-between Queen Games, Topps and St├Ądtisches Spielezentrum Herne.  

Unfortunately, I will not be there this year but maybe next year? Some cool things happening for me outside of direct game design, which we'll be announcing next week. Can't wait!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Congress of Gamers 2012 Recap

Even walking up to it, I still had no clue what to expect. The event was in a Senior Center, which sounds like it'll be a one or two room building, but this was bigger than most high schools. Tons of themed rooms, with tones of things to do. It made me want to skip 30 years into the future just to have the possibility of hanging out at one of these places.

But I was there to play games. The main room had a whole bunch of people playing Power Grid at once, with a silent Board Game Auction happening along side of it. Instead, I spent my time in the Unpub Protozone, a room for established, and up-and-coming designers to demo their new and unpublished games. The mood was very upbeat and creative in there, with a lot of great minds huddled around each game. I only played a few, and photographed a few more, but overall had a great time.


I was one of the first designers to arrive, so my first few games were play tests of my own game, ZombieZone. It's a 2 player head-to-head battle game, currently in beta testing.

We played the game about 8-10 times throughout the day, with most players getting in more than one session, which is always a great initial compliment in these testing sessions. Everyone seemed to be having a blast, with it being the loudest game in the room (at least until Pole Position got rolling) and the anonymous user feedback forms proved that everyone did enjoy themselves.

My goal with the game right now is to finalize the basic units and start introducing new ones. The balance leans a little bit to the Zombie side right now and these sessions have helped tighten it up. You can pick up a copy of ZombieZone at The Game Crafter, or print your own at this link:

VivaJava: The Coffee Game: The Dice Game 

With VivaJava just shipping out to its Kickstarter backers, getting a chance to play TC Petty III's dice version of the game was an unexpected surprise. I knew TC would be in attendance (as he was co-running the event) but I had no clue such a prototype existed. I think this was the one of the first public tests of the game.

So what can I tell you about it? Well, it's basically VivaJava lite. Just replace the beans with dice. If you've played VivaJava, you'll recognize all of the familiar mechanics. There are the blends (and even the epic Rainbow blend), the research (which modifies your die rolls instead of your bean pulls). Players can bet on other blends, and also obtain more/better dice.

If you haven't played VivaJava, the prototype might take a little more explanation, if only to bring in the coffee theme. Players will roll dice trying to make their best coffee blend. A blend is similar to a poker hand, with 3 of a kind beating a pair, and 4 of a kind beating 3 of a kind. Only one blend can be in play at once, so a better blend will dethrone the previous leader. Points are scored throughout the game, with the most coming in after successfully surviving a full round as the top blend. The alternative to blending is to research, which gives you special abilities once you reach certain checkpoints on the blend board.

As a fan of VivaJava, I was instantly hooked on this. And as a fan of great mechanics, I think most would also get hooked in. The only thing missing from VivaJava is the social side to it… but this is smaller, lighter, and quicker. It really captures the brilliance of VivaJava, with dice.

Walls of Light

I didn't expect to get to play Walls of Light. This is Jesse Catron's Game Crafter game about stained glass windows. Probably one of the most extreme themes (extreme, as in far from the normal, not to be confused with an EXTREME! theme) I've played in a while, and it meshes really nicely with the mechanics.

In the game, players are completing windows by playing transparent tiddly winks on top of each other to form various colors. When two colors form a third color, a player may earn extra points (as points are calculated by the amount of different colors in a single window).

The game is very inexpensive and you can get a copy at The Game Crafter for just $9.99. It's light on components, but the quality of the design makes it feel like it should cost twice as much. I ordered my copy and I'm looking forward to playing again.

Salmon Run

I've talked about Salmon Run a few times before. It's a very solid, customizable, deckbuilding Salmon racing game, and it's currently nearing the end of it's very long Kickstarter run. You can still pledge for the next 12 days.

Each time I play, I enjoy the game more and more. Even this time, I lost terribly, but still had a great time. Gryphon Games lis doing an amazing job with the production mock ups, but I will miss the art and appeal of the prototype. Look at that 3D rendered bear!


I didn't get to play these last three games, but everyone seemed to have a great time with them. I can vouch for event co-organizer, Darrell Louder's upcoming Dice Hate Me game, Compounded. It's solid. Absolutely solid.

Pole Position

I didn't get the names of the designers of Pole Position, but they came in asking if there was space to demo their game, and they quickly had everyone in the room playing their horse race / auction game, ALL AT ONCE. It was crazy how it took off, and sustained that momentum all day long.

East India Company

The final game that I missed was Paul Owens' East India Company. I was told that it was THE game to play at Congress Of Gamers, but it didn't make the table the day I was there. I got to chat with Paul for a while (great guy) and he let me take a few shots of the game. Hope to play at an upcoming event.

And that was my day at the Rockville Senior Center a/k/a Congress of Gamers. A nice, small gathering of great designers and great games. I say it was small because there were only a few dozen people in the room throughout the day, but that was plenty to keep the games going on a consistent basis. The silent auction was worth it too. I didn't get anything because I saw it too late, but I know someone bought Power Grid with 2 extra maps for $20. That would have been worth the 3 hour drive alone.

Friday, October 12, 2012

ZombieZone: Full PnP

I've been promising a full Print and Play version of ZombieZone, and it's here!

You can play three different ways, depending on how much time you want to spend and how much ink is in your printer.

Thematic, Printing and Cutting Involved! Uses printed tokens and is an exact replica of the complete game.


Needs: 2 standard six sided dice, 1 additional six sided die to be used as the custom shotgun die

1) Print all 6 pages of the PnP.
2) Cut out the 4 board sections and assemble them to make one big square with a black border all the around it.
3) Cut out the 20 Human and 20 Zombie images and tape/glue them together so that one side is the Zombie face, and the other side is the Human face. You could tape them to Nickels for support When you have finished you will have 20 double sided Human/Zombie tokens. 
4) Cut out the 20 Red Ammo Discs. You can tape these to 20 pennies. They are single sided.
5) Cut out the 4 Blue Ammo Discs. You can tape these to 4 pennies or dimes. They are single sided.
6) Cut out the 6 Red Shotgun Die squares and tape to a six sided die.

Quick Start, Less Printing! - Uses $1.60 in pocket change as the tokens.

Needs: 2 standard six sided dice, 1 additional six sided die to use as the custom shotgun die

1) Print only pages 1-4 of the PnP.
2) Cut out the 4 board sections and assemble them to make one big square with a black border all the around it.
3) Replace the 20 Zombie/Human tokens with 20 Nickels.
4) Replace the 20 Ammo Discs with 20 Pennies
5) Replace the 4 Bomb Discs with 4 Dimes.
6) Use this conversion for the custom six-sided shotgun die: 1=X, 2=1, 3=2, 4=2, 5=3, 6=3

Less Printing! Maybe No Printing At All! - Small taste of the game. Uses 48 cents in pocket change as the tokens.

Pick up a ZombieZone Postcard at a convention, or print your own. Uses the Postcard Edition Rules.

1) Print the postcard (if needed).
2) Use the change shown on the Postcard Edition Rules. (8 Nickels and 8 Pennies) 


Please let me know what you think, either in the comments below or by email to JTagmire at I really appreciate any feedback and support.

If you enjoy the game, you can get a high quality version from The Game Crafter until 12/31/2012. It comes with a full-sized, standard folding game board and solid poker chip style tokens that look and feel really nice. The link is:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Quarriors Video Review!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

ZZ: The Postcard Edition

The full ZombieZone Print and Play is still on it's way, but for now I have a tiny taste of the game for you... it's the Postcard Edition!

In this version, instead of battling Humans against Zombies, you will put your finest pocket change against each other. Heads (Humans) are armed with pennies for ammo, but at a quick flip of the coin they will become savage tails (Zombies). The game can be played with a total of 48 cents and 2-3 dice.

If you have received the postcard, click on to the rules and you will be good to go. If you have not received the postcard, you can print your own right here.

And a quick note on this. The board is usually a spacious 12 X 12 grid with enough space to escape your opponent, and form a plan of action. This Postcard Edition is a tiny 5 X 7 grid with no room to think. This is like fighting Zombies in your closet. You can't back out of this area, and things are going to move very quickly.

It's a different experience than the full game, but the gameplay is the same. The Game Crafter limited preview edition includes high quality Zombie/Human tokens, bombs (as well as an alternate win condition for the Humans), matching dice for each unit type, a custom shotgun die (for those who don't want to convert their dice numbers after rolling them) and much more.

But for now... Enjoy The Postcard Edition of ZombieZone!

Download: ZombieZone: The Postcard Edition - Rules

Download: ZombieZone: The Postcard Edition - Postcard

And if you like it, please check out ZombieZone: The Limited Preview Edition at The Game Crafter.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Philly Game Jam Podcast

In June, I was asked by the
IGDA Philly to judge their Philly Game Jam (Analog Games) at the Too Many Games Expo in Oaks, PA. I've been a small part of a few of the recent local game jams and always had a blast, so I jumped at the opportunity. To round out the judges panel, I recruited Unpub/Cartrunk Entertainment's John Moller, and TC Petty III, designer of Dice Hate Me Games upcoming release Viva Java.

The entire event was recorded for a new podcast called Player 3 by Patrick Holleman, which you can listen to using the player above. Patrick takes you through the whole Game Jam (which had both digital and analog competitions) with interviews and audio from everyone involved. The second part of the podcast features an interview with the team behind the board game / game jam success story, Velociraptor Cannibalism.

Below you can see Patrick catching up with us as we were trying to determine who would be the winner of the competition. It was close.

Although it looks intense (and it was for a little while), we had a great time judging the games. The Game Jam required all of the games to be designed within 24 hours and around the central theme. For the second time in a row, the theme was an image. Here it is:

A very cool image with tons of potential. The teams each took a different approach and in the end it was Installation 42, a post apocalyptic deck-building game that took the top prize. For me, it was the interesting board layout / card selection mechanic that made it stand out. You could only choose from your row / column of cards, but the cards could be bumped, changing yours and your opponents possibilities each round.

Here are the winners, Wacky Weasel Weekend.

And here are a few more images from the event.

Next years event is unfortunately the same weekend as Origins, so I will most likely miss out. Hope to still be involved in the background though.

Monday, October 1, 2012

ZombieZone: Available Now!

It's October 1st... which means ZombieZone is out!

Here is the link to purchase your copy of the Limited Edition Preview version of the game:

This version will only be available at The Game Crafter until 12/31/12, at which time we take the next step of this journey.

The print and play sample will be coming in just a few days. Hope you enjoy it!